Restoring to a previous back up after a Catalina 10.15.7 update fail

Hi Folks
Through a harmonic convergence of errors, misconceptions, coincidence, automation, and well, it being 2020, I lost an important set of revisions in Scrivener. After much time poking around, I’ve determined that my best option is to restore my MacBook Air to a previous backup on Time Machine. Before doing this, I’m wondering if it restores everything to the previous state so I’m really back to the way it was on Wednesday when it backed up, or am I just restoring Catalina 10.15.6? In other words, if I was working on a Scrivener doc then, would it restore THAT version if it was backing up on my laptop instead of to the cloud, which I erroneously thought it was doing?

Just an FYI, the update from Catalina 10.15.6 to 10.15.7 seemed more over-the-top than I would have expected: it gave me all the new user messages as if I was installing a new OS, requiring me to re-do the Touch ID, messages about “Find My,” sign in with my Apple ID in multiple places, etc. Apps I’d removed from my doc after setting things up the way I‘d wanted for 10.15.6 were back; but some of the apps I’d added to the doc myself were also tthere. A lot of my apps need to be re-installed or re-authorized - not all, which might make things easier! Is this normal for updating the same OS? Or is there something I need to be checking or re-doing?

One more thing, in case it’s helpful: the whole fiasco started because Apple Mail was misbehaving on 10.15.6. It would “Open” (showing in the menu bar) but then the only thing I could do was force quit it. Nothing a restart couldn’t fix, right? But I didn’t realize that the restart meant updating Catalina, which I’d installed thinking I would prepare…

Maybe a metaphor for the times, but any wisdom on how to get back to my semi-blissful existence from before Calamity (Catalamity?) would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Problem and mystery solved, mostly. It turns out that the auto-update logged me into an old account. Once I logged out and back in, my revisions were ready and waiting. And it explains why the software update behaved so oddly - it thought I was a different person on this Mac for the first time. Thanks to anyone who took a few moments to scratch your head!

The mostly piece has something to do with a weird interaction between Mail and Clean My Mac. I will report back if that turns out to be a bigger issue.

Thanks again.

Just curious – why would you need to restore an entire machine just to access Scrivener data in Time Machine?